Above the surface of the water, synchronised swimmers display smiling faces, graceful legs, and pointed toes.
Underwater, they’re working harder than any athlete at the Olympic games.
They launch teammates out of the water and through the air. They suspend themselves upside down and contort their bodies into circus-esque poses without ever touching the bottom of the pool. And, unlike hammer throwers or weightlifters who grimace their way through feats of athleticism, synchronised swimmers perform their gruelling routines without showing fatigue.
In other words: Don’t be fooled when synchronised swimmers make the sport look easy — it’s not.
During synchronised swimming competition in Rio, NBC set up a split-screen camera that showed viewers the action above and below the water at the same time. Here are a few shots from the competitors’ routines:
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